Antologia de Música Electrónica Portuguesa : Various Artists


1. Nuno Canavarro: Alsee
2. Cândido Lima: Oceanos
3. Nuno Rebelo: New Amp
4. Isabel Soveral: Anamorphoses I
5. Filipe Pires: Homo Sapiens
6. Telectu: Performance #
7. Jorge Peixinho: Elegia a Amílcar Cabral
8. Rafael Toral: Mills Session (introdução)
9. João Pedro Oliveira: Silence to Light
10. Anar Band: Plasticman
11. René Bertholo: África Aqui
12. Carlos Zíngaro: #444-07
13. Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta: Lisbon Revisited
14. No Noise Reduction: RLO II
15. António Ferreira: O Verão Nasceu da Paixão de 1921

Project and research: Plancton Music
Art direction: Rafael Toral
Audio treatments and digital mastering: Noise Precision Mobile
Design: Notype


Experimentation with electronic music has been a relatively recent phenomenon in Portugal , according to the sleevenotes accompanying Antologia de Música Electrónica Portuguesa . This, they reveal, can be explained by the "cultural isolationism and obscurantism the country lived in during 48 years of dictatorship, as well as its deep underdevelopment during the regime that ended in 1974". Electronic music, however, wants to be free. It has its own international language, plus a network of talents and institutions that transcend all such barriers. Less an actual anthology than a vigorously paced montage of extracts recorded over the past three decades, the selection of material and composers presented here quickly establishes direct connections with some of the major names in 20th century music. Filipe Pires, whose Homo Sapiens for tape-manipulated voices dates from 1972, making it the earliest piece in the collection, studies electroacoustic music with Pierre Schaeffer at Groupe de Recherches Musicales. Cândido Lima, represented by the sumpuously expansive Oceanos , studies with Xenakis and Boulez, while Jorge Peixinho worked with Stockhausen in Darmstadt . On the strength of her spatially adept Anamorphoses from 1994, Peixinho's own student, Isabel Soveral is evidently one of the more interesting new composers to emerge in recent years. António Ferreira's studies at the Holland 's Institute for Sonology, show through in the gentle undulation of his O Verão Nasceu da Paixão de 1921 from 1988. Having worked with John Cage between 1986 and 1992 and with Merce Cunningham up to present day, Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta transforms a reading of a poem by Fernando Pessoa into the filtered ebb and flow of the sea in his 1986 composition Lisbon Remembered . Compiled and produced by Rafael Toral, the most striking feature about this collection is the vitality with which these outside influences are adapted by each composer in their work. Much remains to be discovered here.

The Wire, article by K. H.




NUNO CANAVARRO (1962), Alsee , 1988
Ensoniq Mirage sampler, Yamaha FB-01 synthesizer
Author's studio, Cascais
Plux Quba , LP Ama Romanta, 1988; re CD Moikai, 1998

Began his music career as a member of pop bands in the beginning of the 1980's and, from 1983 to 1985, studied electroacoustic music in the United States and in The Netherlands. After Plux Quba was released in 1998, he started composing music for cinema. Plux Quba was recorded with scarce means, among which "a synthesizer, an Ensoniq Mirage eight bit sampler (one of the first available at that time) and an eight track Fostex recorder. Today I can hardly believe how I managed to do that record. I actually used the sampler's software errors. It was a quite unstable instrument and there were situations in which, forced to work hard, it would behave unpredictably. It was very good for the kind of music I wanted to do. The tracks plb , xqa and xlb were produced in the same recording sessions. Rafael Toral found them in the Plux Quba tapes and thought it would be interesting to include them in the anthology. I hadn't heard some of these sounds for about ten or twelve years. For a while – at least while I listened to them – they took Plux Quba 's electroacoustic map back to me.”

CÂNDIDO LIMA (1939), Oceanos, 1978
Two VCS3 synthesizers, computer with U.P.I.C. system support.
CEMAMU and SEV, Paris and RDP studios, Oporto *.
Autómatos de areia/ Lendas de Neptuno/ Oceanos , CD Strauss, 1992

A Portuguese computer music pioneer, Cândido Lima studied composition in the Lisbon and Oporto conservatories and, later on, with Stockhausen, Ligeti, Pousseur and Boulez, among others. He got a doctorate in Aesthetics in Paris with his thesis supervised by Iannis Xenakis, took courses in computer music systems in Paris ' and Vincennes ' universities and followed training programs at CEMAMU and IRCAM. Besides teaching music composition, he also directs the Grupo Música Nova, which he founded in 1975. "This work belongs to a period of aesthetic preoccupation and meeting of new acoustic and musical spaces. Here the music is interpreted as energy, as speed, as pure motion, as beings on their own. To find the frontiers between freedom and submission to models and systems – either grammatical or technological – where subversion to determinism and rationality is, here's the challenge to the listener, the analyst and the composer himself." "According to mythology, Oceanus was the first god of the sea. The ancients thought Oceanus was a river surrounding the Earth. The piece is everything that can present analogies with the mythology, with real or imaginary oceans, with our planet or interstellar realities."

NUNO REBELO (1960), New Amp , 1984
Microphone, guitar amplifier.
Author's studio, Cascais
Previously unreleased

A multi-instrumentalist graduated in architecture, Nuno Rebelo began doing music research and experimentation in the mid-1980's, discovering several instrumental and composition techniques on his own. He developed activity as an improviser establishing many collaborations, and founded projects as Mler Ife Dada, Plopoplot Pot and Poliploc Orchestra. He composed the EXPO'98 theme music. He has also composed music for theatre, cinema and dance, the latter in many international collaborations. "New (guitar) amplifier – or, to be more accurate, in second hand – and nothing to try it with but an old microphone my father used in his home-recordings. This was how I was led to find feedback's musical potentialities. This first discovery was captured right away (on three tracks, with a Fostex X-15), recording one of the first moments in which I clearly distanced myself from the pop universe. What we can listen to here is an excerpt of that improvised composition, which lasts about ten minutes."

ISABEL SOVERAL (1961), Anamorphoses I , 1994
Buchla modular synthesizer.
State University of New York, Stony Brook, New York
Previously unreleased

Attended composition courses by composers Joly Braga Santos and Jorge Peixinho at the National Conservatory of Lisbon, and in 1988 studied at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, where she began working in electronic music with Bulent Arel and Daria Semegen. Since 1995 Isabel Soveral has been teaching music analysis and composition at Aveiro University . " Anamorphoses I is one of the pieces of the Morfoses cycle, consisting of a vast group of works for instruments and magnetic tape. The different compositions in this cycle, although different in form, have the same elaboration criteria for the materials used in the tapes: the various sounds are processed and transformed in many different ways, and taken to acquire new timbral qualities. Losing their initial identity, they originate various states of sound metamorphosis in the development of the piece, taking on the shape of new imaginary instruments. In the particular case of Anamorphoses I , because of the tape's orchestral role and the way the clarinet-tape relationship develops, the piece almost takes on the dimension of a Concert for clarinet and magnetic tape."

FILIPE PIRES (1934), Homo Sapiens , 1972
Magnetic tape.
GRM* studios, Paris
Canto Ecuménico/ Litania/ Homo Sapiens , LP Imavox, 1980, re CD Strauss, 1997

Began his career as a pianist, studying in Lisbon, Hannover and Salzburg. A growing interest in avant-garde aesthetic trends led him to undergo training in electroacoustic music with Pierre Schaeffer at Groupe de Recherches Musicales, from 1970 to 1972. He was engaged as a music specialist for the UNESCO International Secretariat between 1975 and 1979. Up to present, he has also been teaching musical analysis and composition. The musical language of Filipe Pires, formerly of strong tonal roots of neo-classical appearance, has shifted to atonalism, chance and electroacoustics, the latter of which he was a pioneer in Portugal in the 1970's. "The human voice, used as a symbol of earth and creation, constitutes the heart of this work, phonetically setting itself in a context evolving towards movement, elaboration and the fusion of diverse sound elements. Homo Sapiens is a revised version of the first part of the Nam Ban ballet, composed in 1970 and commissioned by the Portuguese Secretariat for the Osaka Exhibition. The present version was composed at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales in Paris ."

TELECTU (1982), Performance # , 1984
Tapes, synthesizer, electronic guitar
Bienal de Vila Nova de Cerveira, 1984
Performance , LP Dargil, 1984; re CD Strauss, 1995

Duo established by Jorge Lima Barreto and Vitor Rua in 1982, began with vanguard rock performances, soon turning into electroacoustics, jazz-off and minimalism. Besides Telectu's extensive discography, they also composed for theatre, cinema, poetry and video. Considering various post-modern music languages, they have been inviting leading musicians in the "new improvisation" scene and presented themselves in Moscow, New York, London, Havana, Barcelona and Peking. "Created for the 1984's "Bienal de Cerveira", Performance # was an installation presented in a big warehouse, where paint cans were displayed in a broad circle along with synthesizers, mixing desks and two Revox tape recorders playing a long tape loop circulating in the space. At night there were three or four light projectors on the floor spreading beams of a white, diaphanous light. All sounds were heard from two loudspeakers placed at the edges of the circle, at a low, almost subliminal, volume and an open microphone could vaguely capture the audience's voices. Performance # was an experimental creation of a repetitive minimal music "open work". "

JORGE PEIXINHO (1940-1995), Elegia a Amílcar Cabral , 1973
Twelve sinewave oscillators.
IPEM* studios, Gent
Elegia a Amílcar Cabral , LP Lamiré, 1978; re CD Strauss, 1997

Studied composition and piano in Lisbon and Rome, worked with Luigi Nono and Pierre Boulez, and took part in the experimental concerts carried on by Stockhausen in Darmstadt Ensemble and Musik für ein Haus . In 1972/73 he undertook electronic music practical training at the Belgian IPEM. Developing intense activity as a composer, pianist and teacher, he directed the Grupo de Música Contemporânea de Lisboa, which he had founded in 1970. "On January 20th 1973, in Gent , Belgium , I was painfully taken by surprise by the news of Amílcar Cabral's murdering. I decided that very same day to compose a piece which would reflect my personal homage to the great African politician. A purely electronic piece, typically elegiac, static and meditational. It's composed only with twelve sinewave tones, remaining unchanged throughout the entire piece, and includes 9 juxtaposed sections. The piece's ending, insisting on a long and high pitched frequency being abruptly cut, could suggest Cabral's unpredictable and sudden death, as well as the pereniallity of his political message.”

RAFAEL TORAL (1967), Mills Session (introdução) , 1997
Moog III-P modular system.
Center for Contemporary Music, Mills College, Oakland, California
Previously unreleased

Exploring relations between sound phenomena such as resonance or difference tones and the human capacity for creative listening, Toral has developed a sound world integrating ambient, rock, improvisation and sound design in multiple experimental practices. Using the guitar since 1984 as part of a complex electronic instrument, he has collaborated with Jim O'Rourke, John Zorn, Sonic Youth, Rhys Chatham and Phill Niblock and performed in many European countries, Canada , Japan and several states in the USA . His music is published by labels from three continents and he's a member of the MIMEO orchestra, alongside Keith Rowe and Christian Fennesz. He believes there is no such thing as noise. " Mills Session was a long improvisation recorded at the Mills College during 1997's US tour. Having had access to the Moog modular system at their Electronic Music studio marked the beginning of my involvement with analog modular systems, which became essential to my work in the following five years, especially Violence of Discovery and Calm of Acceptance."

JOÃO PEDRO OLIVEIRA (1959), Silence to Light , 1992
Composer's studio
Electronic and Computer Music , CD Numérica, 1993

Studied organ at the Gregorian Institute of Lisbon and in 1978 began his music composition studies and attended Emmanuel Nunes's Composition Seminaries. From 1985 to 1990, he studied music theory and composition at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Besides his activity as a composer he has also developed a career as an organist, playing alone and in collaborations on several music presentations, and teaches composition and analysis at the Aveiro University . " Silence to Light was commissioned by the Watary Museum of Contemporary Art, to be a part of an exhibition where painting, sculpture and music are together. This work tries to create an ethereal atmosphere, in which small fragments of sounds fluctuate. There are some surprises and some moments of tension, but they never arrive to a climatic moment, always returning to the crystal-type textures that allow the silence of the piece to become coloured, as the title suggests. This work was composed at the authors studio."

ANAR BAND (1972-1982), Plasticman , 1977
ARP Odissey synthesizer, electric bass.
Estúdios da Rádio Triunfo, Lisboa
Anar Band , Alvorada, LP 1977; re CD Movieplay, 1997

Anar Band was a project by Jorge Lima Barreto (1949), who had been performing interventions in experimental and jazz music, video art and performance-art since the late sixties; graduated in Art History and doctorate in Musicology and Social Communication Theory, he wrote several books and produced radio shows. "Anar Band was a laboratorial group for improvisations, in the aesthetics of the free-jazz and electroacoustics. Produced and recorded in 1976, Anar Band was, on an electroacoustic profile, the first Portuguese record of improvised music, clearly committed as such. Plasticman was thought of as Jazz-off mimetic music, in a dialectical avant-garde aesthetics. Lima Barreto improvised a hyper-expressive atonalistic solo on an Arp Odissey synthesizer, inspired by free-jazz phrasing, and Rui Reininho played some rhythmic lines, simulating a swinging bass on a double-neck Ibanez guitar. A textural pad of concretist influence was later overdubbed and given the name Sintonic Orchestra."

RENÉ BERTHOLO (1935), África aqui , 1996
Makina (digital programmable synthesizer/ sequencer built by the author).
Author's studio, Algarve
Um Argentino no Deserto , CD Sirr.ecords, 2001

Studied painting and fine arts in Lisbon before moving to Paris, where he founded the group KWY with Lourdes Castro and others. One of the key figures of the "new figuration" pictorial movement, in 1966 he began making his first “reduced models”, small moving sculptures using electric powered mechanics and electronics. In 1973 he returned to painting and applied his electronic know-how to the creation and construction of a custom-built programmable synthesizer that he called Makina and was used to produce what he calls "mosic". At present time he is building a new version, with recent FPGA technology (programmable integrated circuits). " África Aqui was made in the summer of 1995 or 1996. I remember it was very hot that day and, as there was a drum sound on that piece, I thought of Africa , hence the title. The sound of the little goat we can hear was obtained not with a sampler, which Makina didn't have at the time, but by means of transformation of another animal's sound, extracted from a special integrated circuit, to which I changed the resistance.”

CARLOS "ZÍNGARO" (1948), #444-07 , 1981
ARP 2601 synthesizer, ARP sequencer.
ZNGR-Nature Morte, Lisboa
Previously unreleased

Began studying violin, and later on dedicated himself to church organ for two years. Still in the late sixties he began a musical approach based on contemporary music, electronics and rock, in the Plexus band. In a musical language where chance is taken as an essential component, Zíngaro has collaborated with musicians like Richard Teitelbum and Derek Bailey, and composed music for theatre, cinema and dance. "Recorded at my own studio, and only a small sample of hours and days of recorded experiences, #444-07 has to do with a certain absorption in instrumental exploration, following what I always kept doing with the violin. The Arp was the first instrument with a specific and semi-autonomous language I had access to, after years of magnetic tape "concretisms" and more or less primary treatments of the violin. Also worth mentioning, considering the violin's limited sound range, a fascination for the enlarged synthesis possibilities of the synthesiser, particularly of the "old" resonating VCFs..."

EMANUEL DIMAS DE MELO PIMENTA (1957), Lisbon Revisited ; 1986
Tape, computer, voice synthesizer, filters.
Pessoa , CD ASA Arts and Technology, 1999

Architect, urban planner and composer born in São Paulo, Emanuel Dimas Pimenta uses virtual reality and digital technologies to develop activity in these areas. Intermedia researcher who used to disassemble and reassemble watches at age four, he worked with John Cage between 1986 and his disappearance in 1992, and with Merce Cuningham up to present day. He believes there are no frontiers nor absolute limits, that we never teach, only learn, and that ethics is aesthetics. "... in 1986, I had already composed an other piece based on Fernando Pessoa, Lisbon Revisited , created with vocal sounds from reading a poem by Pessoa dated 1926. In Pessoa there is no intention, therefore it is music without beginning, middle or ending. It's an invitation to be listened to without prejudice, without a specific time frame. Spoken poem, synthesized and filtered voice, mutation, and it turns into sea, all voices, there being no longer inside or outside. John Cage particularly enjoyed that piece. There was a strong affinity with one of his essays about Thoureau, made at the same time."

Modulated feedback circuits with electric guitars and toy amplifiers.
Rádio Litoral Oeste, Óbidos
On Air , CD Ananana, 1997

Since 1990, Paulo Feliciano and Rafael Toral have worked together on a duo project, working in a variety of areas from sound art to music activities of a more conceptual or experimental nature. The project investigates randomness and the resolution of the uncontrollable in real time, involving the musicians in spontaneous activity, often recurring to radical experimentation and technology abuse. " On Air was a series of live radio shows where we performed with highly unstable circuits as instruments. Their unpredictability, summed with the improvisation and the live "on air" condition created a high level of risk, a very "dangerous" musical situation. All this turned On Air's performance into a very lively and exciting process. Later on, On Air was the starting point for the mixed-media installation Toyzone (modified toys, custom electronic circuitry, relays, timers and multiple sensors), produced for "Sonic Boom - the Art of Sound", an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in London , 2000.

ANTÓNIO FERREIRA (1963); O verão nasceu da paixão de 1921 , 1988
Atari computer, Yamaha FB-01 synthesizer, magnetic tape.
Author's studio, Cascais
Música de Baixa Fidelidade , LP Ama Romanta, 1988; re CD Plancton Music, 2002

Studied chemistry but abandoned it to attend Sonology in 1986 at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague , Netherlands . In 1987/88 he recorded electronic and electroacoustic pieces that would later become the Música de Baixa Fidelidade LP. Following its release, he began working as an expert in noise pollution and bioacoustics. In the late 1990's Ferreira returned to electroacoustic and acousmatic composition using computer systems, presenting his pieces in several national and international music festivals. "In this piece I wanted to merge the real time interactivity allowed, in those days, by the Atari computer, with the possible, yet static, richness of a magnetic tape conceived in the studio. The computer was running a program developed by Daniel Brandt, which I adapted in FORTH, able to influence several MIDI code generators with respect to time, rhythm, articulation and tonal and microtonal scales, by means of typed keyboard commands. This composition is thus some kind of a synthesizer and computer jam-session, to which the opening and some pre-recorded elements were later added."


CEMAMU: Centre d'Études Mathematiques et Automatiques Musicales
SEV: Studio Électroacoustique de Vincennes – Université Paris VIII
GRM: Groupe de Recherches Musicales
RDP: Rádio Difusão Portuguesa
IPEM: Instituut voor Psychoacustica en Elektronische Muziek



São raros, ou inéditos, os esforços com objectivo de fornecer uma perspectiva histórica da música portuguesa ou de alguma das suas áreas em particular. Se, no que diz respeito a géneros como o pop/rock, o fado ou até o hip-hop e a música tardicional, essas tentativas começam já a surgir, uma "Antologia de Música Electrónica Portuguesa" é um achado. A iniciativa é de louvar, até por ser um caso insólito, mas também porque cumpre a sua função primordial: a de se constituir como referência num espectro musical caracterizado pelo facto de os seus autores viverem muitas vezes "em comunidades fechadas e de costas voltadas entre si".
Estas palavras são do próprio Rafael Toral [na foto], músico, produtor e responsável pela publicação (com selo Plancton) da primeira antologia de música electrónica portuguesa, documento que serve também como balanço do que até aqui foi feito nesta área ou, se se quiser, como uma espécie de "ponto da situação". Este disco transforma-se, então, num marco, até porque aqui se encontram alguns dos que são considerados como os trabalhos de maior qualidade e originalidade nesta área, mas também numa referência quase incontornável para toda a música electrónica que ainda há-de surgir. O mérito de trabalhos como estes, capazes de divulgar, até de forma pedagógica, o que ficou para trás é, precisamente, tornar dispensável começar sempre tudo a partir da estaca zero.
Como todas as colectâneas, "Antologia da Música Electrónica Portuguesa" assume o risco e a angústia das escolhas. Sem pretender ser um "best of", Rafael Toral avisa que se decidiu por um alinhamento que reflecte "uma perspectiva artística e pessoal", que procura transformar a compilação numa "obra em si" e não tanto numa tabela cronológica do que até agora foi feito. Ainda assim, há fronteiras que foram colocadas. Desde as obras de pioneiros com formação notoriamente erudita e académica, tornadas públicas logo nos anos 70, como é o caso de Jorge Peixinho, Cândido Lima e Filipe Pires, até aos músicos formados nos mesmos anos, mas nalguns casos sob a influências das formas mais vanguardistas de jazz, como acontece com a Anar Band e Carlos Zíngaro, passando por aqueles outros nascidos segundo o pop/rock tal como era praticado nos anos 80, como Nuno Canavarro, Nuno Rebelo, No Noise Reduction ou o próprio Toral, até uma nova geração de pesquisadores que regressa à Universidade como forma primordial de aprendizagem, casos de Isabel Soveral e João Pedro Oliveira, "Antologia..." é também uma forma de perceber a evolução geracional desta música.
Poder-se-ia, por isso, apontar ausências (Emmanuel Nunes, Miguel Azguime, Tomás Henriques, Carlos Maria Trindade, Vítor Joaquim), mas a sua obliteração não deixa de ser ultrapassada pela forma coerente como o alinhamento foi montado, apesar da diversidade dos autores - aqui há de tudo, desde serialistas, a cultores do jazz mais livre, praticantes de sound art a manipuladores de fita magnética, autores fascinados por frequências ou feedback ou pelo poder telúrico da voz.
Sem ser exaustiva (como podia ser num único CD?), esta antologia cinge-se à música praticada enquanto arte ou até ciência e não elege o leitor de CDs do automóvel como lugar privilegiado para a sua audição. Ou seja, a música popular não passa, obviamente, por aqui nem o êxito comercial de um projecto como este será o seu objectivo primordial. Mas é um documento de virtudes raras numa época em que a electrónica feita hoje em Portugal - esta colectânea vai até 1997 - irá sofrer obrigatoriamente novos desenvolvimentos. Este disco também é útil para se ir pensando nisso.
Miguel Francisco Cadete Y, Público de Sexta-feira, 20 de Agosto de 2004

Esta compilação, que incide em alguns pontos-chave da música electrónica feita em Portugal entre as décadas de [19]70 e de 90, é o resultado do trabalho meritório de Rafael Toral que escolheu e editou as faixas. Jorge Peixinho, Jorge Lima Barreto (através dos projectos Telectu e Anar Band) ou Filipe Pires - das primeiras fornadas -, ou Nuno Canavarro, Nuno Rebelo e Carlos Zíngaro - de gerações subsequentes - têm o seu trabalho publicado neste disco.
Neste percurso pelo passado da música electrónica lusa (que recusa a ordem cronológica em favor de uma linha de continuidade musical mais coerente), cada peça da Antologia tem um intuito diferente. Pode ser um trabalho por encomenda, pode ser a descoberta súbita de uma nova forma de música, pode ser uma tema com conotações polÌticas. Mas todas as faixas representam um momento de corte no método do artista e no experimentalismo até então efectuado neste país.
A Antologia da Música Electrónica Portuguesa não é só uma compilação de circunstâncias extremas que originam novos caminhos - acasos de azelhice, falta de meios que obrigam o desenrascanço, uma curiosidade tremenda e, acima de tudo, muito trabalho. O disco é também um historial breve sobre a deturpação dos propósitos iniciais de um objecto e a sua adaptação à música: como por exemplo, fazer da fita magnética ou de um amplificador de guitarra (sem guitarra) instrumentos de composição.
A Antologia da Música Electrónica Portuguesa preenche uma séria lacuna histórica e abre horizontes para a continuidade da pesquisa sobre o género feito em Portugal. Essa é uma das suas muitas mais-valias.
Gonçalo Palma, Blitz nº. 1028, 13 de Julho de 2004

Há mais do que uma "música electrónica". Há mais do que uma forma de fazer música com computadores. Há beats e bites e bytes. E antes da nova onda de electro-rock e electro-pop e electroclash e electro-qualquer-coisa, já havia quem brincasse com computadores e sintetizadores e sequenciadores e amplificadores e osciladores… O espectro nacional da música experimental é já vasto o suficiente para merecer atenção cuidada. Objectivo a que Rafael Toral se propõe, ao compilar a Antologia de Música Electrónica Experimental - compêndio do que se faz e fez em Portugal no campo da música avançada, da experimentação electrónica, desde 1972 (Homo sapiens, de Filipe Pires), até 1997 (Mills Session, inédito do próprio Rafael Toral). Mais do que fórmulas melódicas, a Antologia recupera estudos e pesquisas de cientistas sónicos como Nuno Canavarro, Cândido Lima, Nuno Rebelo, Jorge Peixinho, René Bertholo e Carlos Zíngaro e projectos como Telectu ou No Noise Reduction. Uma janela para a outra música electrónica, longe da dança e do rock, aberta à vontade de conhecer outros mundos.
Ricardo Sérgio, DN: música nº. 22, 20 de Agosto de 2004


It is not a coincidence that the newly released Antologia de Musica Electronica Portuguesa represents a bulk of material from the mid-'70s. This music, in many ways, is a direct outpouring of the Carnation Revolution of 1974 that brought Portugal out of nearly 50 years of dictatorship under the conservative Antonio de Oliveira Salazar. The music on this disc is presented in a way that is nearly inseparable from Portugal 's large-scale changes over the past three decades. It is music with a newfound ideological freedom, an inventive use of new technologies, and all of it is linked to a reshaping of national Portuguese identity.
Rafael Toral and Plancton Music did an excellent job of compiling 30 years of experimental electronic music. In 60 minutes, themes and concerns recur consistently, in the form of a wide array of Portuguese artists from any number of backgrounds. There is work here constructed at SUNY Stony Brook, work conceived of in the famed Parisian GRM studios, and work privately recorded onto a Fostex 8-track. It is a clear-cut demonstration of Portuguese diaspora on one hand, but in the same token, is remarkable for the consistency that plays out over the disc.
A preoccupation with the texture and mythology of water crops up on numerous occasions. Candido Lima's "Oceaons" being the most literal example, though Carlos Zingaro, Nuno Rebelo, and Joao Pedro Oliveira's pieces all seem to infer music submerged deeply underwater, perhaps due to palettes that enlist bubbling, random tone generation, or flanger and reverb-drenched sounds. Directly related to this, however, is the most prevalent theme on the Antologia – a shared proclivity towards naïve and primitive musicality. It might be a slight exaggeration to suggest that these pieces somehow explain Nuno Canavarro's miraculous Plux Quba, one of – if not the – most innocent and unassuming albums of electronic music to date. Yet there is a common trait on the Antologia of musicians approaching their music with experimental curiosity and wonder that often eluded the academic "sophisticate" pioneers of American, French, and German electronic music.
Rebelo's piece constructed from amplifier feedback is far more playful and melodic than its technical description conveys. In the short excerpt included on this disc, rotund blots of feedback manage to navigate away from normally dark and noisy territory. Like Canavarro's Plux Quba, though less pronounced, there is a sense of ethnomusicological voyeurism applied to a vernacular of synthetic sounds. The structure, playfulness, and willed accessibility suggest a long-forgotten indigenous culture; the electronics appear more to be forgotten instruments than technological achievements. Rene Bertholo's "Africa Aqui" is a more astringent example. High-pitched sine wave tones and a sputtering synthesizer are mixed with a taut, percussive sound and an intermittent, low-bitrate sample of a bleating sheep. Both the Anar Band and Telectu approach electronics with a playful, hands-on intuition, as does Carlos Zingaro's aforementioned piece. Toral, who's work might be considered a synthesis of the disparate threads presented on this compilation, contributes a No Noise Reduction track that similarly communicates an alien anthropology, full of the trademarked squiggles and aural games that define this working method.
However, the most revelatory, in this regard, is saved for last. A 1988 track by Antonio Ferreira released on the same label as Canavarro's Plux Quba shows an unheralded spiritual companion to Canavarro's masterpiece. Though produced in almost completely opposite circumstances (Ferreira was studying Sonology at the Royal Conservatory in the Haugue, utilizing complex computer generated improvisation systems, while Canavarro was limited to an 8-track and an 8-bit sampler), the piece is similarly unexplainable, familiar and foreign, and extraordinarily beautiful. It is slightly less fragmented than Plux Quba, sounding like a more melancholy Hosono Haruomi, yet the similarities are striking.
It is clear that Toral and Plancton Music want to emphasize Canavarro's importance in this compilation. Canavarro certainly seems to be one of the most lasting influences in contemporary electronic music, even as his obscure 1988 release was only reissued in the States six years ago, and is already out-of-print. To commemorate this further, several short outtake snippets from the Plux Quba sessions are spread throughout this compilation. Unfortunately, the decision to include these tracks as "hidden" bonuses in the negative time elapsed before several pieces is disruptive, rather than unifying. Another notable flaw is that this compilation includes predominantly excerpted tracks. While it whets the listener's appetite for a cache of music that has yet to become available, it is often at the cost of not giving a sense of the full breadth of the music contained.
Also, the anthology only gives small, paragraph-sized glimpses of biographical information on each artist, never really treating the artists with the comprehensive rigor that they deserve. There is no discussion of Ama Romanta and the other independent Portuguese labels that concurrently cropped up with the new wave of experimental music. There is very little written history here, which is a shame considering the depth and quality of the music represented.
Despite this, the good far outweighs the bad. This record isn't merely about the unsung heroes of electronic music, it's not a fetishistic collector's object geared towards allowing obsessive listeners to gain an expert knowledge in their field of interest. The Antologia de Musica Electronica Portuguesa is the work of inquisitive artists rebuilding a culture after the fall of a long dictatorship, and it is a declaration of a musical culture largely unheard by the rest of the world. Like the Arctic Hysteria compilation of Finnish experimental music on Love Records, the Antologia de Musica Electronica Portuguesa is living proof of the experimental music that has laid just outside of our scope for so many years.
Matt Wellins, 8 November, 2004

Antologia de Música Electrónica Portuguesa explores thirty years of Portuguese electronic music; curator Rafael Toral documents the history of the genre in a country that relatively few people even associate with electronic music. While a lot of the material featured here isn't cohesive in the traditional "pop" sense, the album is rich with historical context. As a result of forty-eight years of oppressive dictatorship and cultural isolation and censorship, which ended in 1974, Portugal was a late arrival on the electronic music scene -- but the country's achievements in that short time, as you'll discover, have been varied and distinctive.
Sparse, atmospheric, experimental material is the order of the day, but listeners with contemporary tastes will identify a few standouts. The Anar Band's "Plasticman" is almost jazzy -- a squiggly improvisation of blips and bleeps, while Telectu's sludgy, droning "Performance #" establishes a richly textured ambiance. Jorge Peixinho's "Elegy to Amilcar Cabral", which according to the liner notes "investigates" the death of the Lusophone liberationist, is composed of only 12 alternating sinewave tones, can be as challenging as the man who inspired it.
Antologia de Música Electrónica Portuguesa is a unique listening experience that can be appreciated on two levels -- you can either dig into the cultural history behind the music, or ignore it and get lost in the material's stark, spacy beauty. Either path is rewarding.
Jessica Gentile, 6/18/2005

Upon saluting this collection's title, you might expect your friendly neighborhood music writer to blather on for eight solid paragraphs about the “cultural peculiarities” and “ethnic implications” of this music. And you would be so retardedly accurate in your assumption. However, I'll do my best to free you of such collegiate ramblings, as I'm not so sure the music at hand demands a lesson in cultural anthropology. It does conversely call for lots of big words and snooty, ornamental talk, so deal.
Antologia de Música Electrónica Portuguesa (or Anthology of Portuguese Electronic Music for those incapable of removing vowels from the ends of exotic words) is perhaps not the best representative title for the recordings under consideration. Our compilers could have done better. The music showcased on Antologia is quite specific, far more specific than the full spectrum of “electronic” music (unless, of course, you're employing the AMG definition). During its conception, you may have called it atonal, ambient or modern composition. The newer generation might venture on to brand it as IDM or microsound. Neither the geezers nor the sprouts would inevitably be wrong here. In any case, Antologia is essentially three things: 1) electronic, 2) experimental, and 3) beatless. It's a teensy smidgen of professorial noodling for that ass. And if words like “Fennesz” and/or “Eno” mean anything to you, chances are Antologia will too.
Thematically, Antologia is particularly solid. Despite its 30-year range of compositions (1977-1997), the album tangibly sounds as if it could be the work of one artist or ensemble. The drone-oriented, proto-glitch sound palette is shared among Antologia's 15 tracks. The 52 serene seconds of the opening joint, “Alsee” by Nuno Canavarro, echo and twitch along as all good thorny ambient ditties should. Telectu's tuneful “Performance #” sounds like the best On Land outtake you ever imagined. The only track with an ensemble orientation would be the Anar Band's 1977 recording “Plasticman,” which features a ceaselessly tampered chip noise, something of a four-minute Sun Ra NES solo. Carlos Zingaro's “#444- 07” exercises percussive sample rattling (often referred to nowadays as “drilling”), a technique done to excess by Aphex Twin, Squarepusher and other you-know-whos. Two minutes into the album's closer, “O Verão Nasceu da Paixão de 1921” by António Ferreira, one might suppose the Boards of Canada chums grew up in rural Lisbonan outskirts rather than Scottish countryside, as that recording, apparently spawned in 1988, has an uncanny connection to the blurry, reflective incantations of BoC.
Minus one or two, the tracks offered up on Antologia are cold and unmelodic. Don't expect anything overly Eno-esque in purdiness. These pieces mandate a seasoned ear in the avant electronic paradigm. If you've achieved the ability to actually enjoy a Merzbow track, consider yourself in the clear. Also, if mentions of veterans like Hugh Le Caine, Paul Lansky or Iannis Xenakis ring any bells, you're in good shape. Likewise, if you feel at home with the newer crop of fidget inducers (Oval, Greg Davis, Biosphere, etc.), you'll likely be at home here too. Track-for-track, Antologia isn't necessarily a pleasing, unflustered listen, but it's routinely interesting and worthy of many a chin stroke. So if that kind of thing dollops your sundae, then giddy up.
Aside from a handful of meddled Portuguese vocal samples, no particular moment on Antologia would lead me to trace its origin to anywhere in particular. Now, I'm no Portuguese music buff (and neither are you, so don't front), but I'll assume these selections are indeed oddities of their region. Hell, they'd be oddities just about anywhere. (I promised I wouldn't get all gooey with cultural analysis, so I'll wrap this up swiftly.) They're unlike anything I've heard out of the Iberian territories, and that makes my tired eardrums wobble with buoyant bliss. I have newfound reverence for the region as a viable source of Westernized infidel pop/rock poppycock. Japan has followed our lead, so let's headlock the rest of the world into icky, delay pedal-twiddling submission. Shall we?
Will Simmons, 2005-03-11


Rafael Toral, está visto, não gosta de ficar sentado em frente a uma maça iluminada que esconde do outro lado um corpo inerte. Em conversa com a Puta, a propósito da recente Antologia de Música Electrónica Portuguesa (Plancton Music, 2004), por si organizada, não hesitou em considerar a música electrónica portuguesa actual como "ainda muito presa ao âmbito criativo delimitado por uma destilação abstracta da cultura techno, a estética do erro e ruído (glitch) e o academismo tipo Ircam. Este terreno está exausto, e as possibilidades performativas do laptop já eram miseráveis quando a cena apareceu e estão hoje na minha opinião definitivamente obsoletas. A omnipresença e exclusividade do computador como ferramenta única para a criatividade musical, embora parecesse prometer universos ilimitados, tornou-se um espartilho, uma prisão cada vez mais sobrepovoada e redundante."
A Antologia de Música Electrónica Portuguesa parece-me então particularmente importante neste contexto de evolucionismo condicionado a que Toral se refere. Potencializa uma reflexão que se impõe sobre este específico espaço sonoro, convidando a um entendimento mais amplo e suportado das suas várias expressões.
Outro aspecto consequente desta edição passa pelo reposicionamento do papel da antologia musical, um formato pouco utilizado e historicamente explorado de forma superficial, raramente adoptando mecanismos que possibilitem uma contextualização simultaneamente ampla e criteriosa. Ama Romanta Sempre! (Candy Factory, 1999), actualização oficiosa da compilação Divergências (Ama Romanta, 1986), seria até agora das poucas excepções – pese a péssima remasterização – aos alinhamentos pouco convincentes, isolados no espaço e no tempo, despidos de suportes congruentes que aclarem escolhas e apontem lógicas estéticas. A Antologia de Música Electrónica Portuguesa estabelece contudo um novo patamar.
Com efeito, trata-se da primeira grande tentativa de sintetizar o passado histórico da música electrónica portuguesa na sua multiplicidade de abordagens, combinando de forma cadenciada composições de carácter mais académico (Filipe Pires, Cândido Lima, Jorge Peixinho) com outras de uma maior sensibilidade urbana (Nuno Canavarro, Nuno Rebelo, António Ferreira, o próprio Toral). Mostras contemporâneas do mesmo universo sonoro, como as edições Way Out – New Music From Portugal (Vol. 1 e Vol. 2, ambos AnAnAnA, 1997 e 1999 respectivamente) encontram aqui uma importante plataforma de complemento estruturante.
O alinhamento da Antologia de Música Electrónica Portuguesaa não segue uma ordem cronológica, obedecendo invés a uma lógica de harmonia musical imaginada por Toral. "Alsee", curtíssimo momento de Nuno Canavarro, retirado do seu essencial Plux Quba (Ama Romanta 1988, reed. Moikai, 1999), inicia o álbum. Sucedem-lhe muitas outras obras de excepção, entre as quais merecem especial destaque as experiências conceptuais dos No Noise Reduction com circuitos electrónicos de brinquedos modificados, a sintetizada improvisação free jazz da Anar Band, o minimalismo repetitivo dos Telectu, a écloga mutabilidade abstracta de António Ferreira ou as abordagens pioneiras de Jorge Peixinho e Cândido Lima. Algumas faixas inéditas de Canavarro, recuperadas das sessões que originaram Plux Quba, pontuam o álbum, que se estende cronologicamente até 1997 e a um demasiado curto excerto de "Mills Sessions", onde ouvimos Rafael Toral iniciar a sua exploração de sistemas modulares analógicos.
Antologia de Música Electrónicaé prefaciada por textos de Toral e Rui Eduardo Paes, que de resto já havia coordenado as compilações Way Out. O extenso livreto acompanha cada composição com importantes apontamentos que as introduzem e inserem na lógica antológica, conferindo assim ao todo uma dinâmica absolutamente essencial. Forçosamente incompleta, deixa-nos uma visão pessoal de um dos seus mais relevantes dinamizadores e convida, como escreve Eduardo Paes, "a olhares e ouvires de outras épocas, que a podem entender de modos que não os inicialmente intencionados, multiplicando-lhe assim as implicações e os sentidos."
A expressão electrónica portuguesa necessita dessa confrontação. Voltando às palavras de Toral, este reforça precisamente a necessidade de "uma reflexão colectiva em relação a todas as envolventes da performance musical - o tipo de sala e a respectiva carga cultural, a sua influência na relação performer / público e, a nível da própria performance, que sentido faz a presença física do performer em palco, o que há para ver? Pensa-se demasiado pouco nestes aspectos, que podem fazer a diferença entre um evento falhado e um bem sucedido. Mais importante, para quem usa computador, é não esquecer a velha pergunta: Estamos a utilizar os meios, ou estamos a ser utilizados por eles? A música, electrónica e todas as outras é feita por pessoas, não máquinas – os Kraftwerk sabem isso muito bem. É um mundo vasto e fascinante, especialmente fora do computador."
Nota:Antologia de Música Electrónica é a terceira edição da Plancton Music, editora portuguesa que iniciou a sua actividade em 2002 com a reedição de Música Debaixa Fidelidade de António Ferreira e lhe deu continuidade com Neo Neon, de Jorge Lima Barreto.
Manuel Poças

Historic, but not actually. This anthology was lovingly collected, edited and produced by Rafael Toral and includes a cross section of early Portuguese electronic musicians both known and little-known outside his native Portugal . The time range is between the late 1970's until the mid 1990's, but Toral chose to present them in his own order rather than a chronological one. The CD feels like a single work, a strong argument for the realignment and de-centralization of historical electronic music. Great electronic music also happened outside of the usual cultural centers, and this is a nice example of it in wider circulation. Many tracks on this disc sound like standard academic avant-guard using the normal devices of the genre. But taken as a whole, there is something unmistakably different about the feeling of these works. Since the methods are more or less the same as anywhere else (studio gear, great masses of wires, synths, tapes, etc.), it is interesting to imagine how this sound developed its own broth apart from other creative milieu. The recurrent theme in these works is a sense of melancholy: decaying beauty and danger swimming in ambient backgrounds. And, although the work is formal, it is also emotional, the feelings of the musician are present as much as the engineering. Of course, Toral's work has these same characteristics. But did he select works according to his style, or did his style come from the environment suggested by these very works? Portugal suffered from 50 years of dictatorship, which explains why electronic music only flourished so late there (since the 1970's). The crawling blues of the music matches the uneasy calm that the population must have felt at the time. There are a few rough edges like an unapproachable track by Candido Lima, but overall an ambitious and logically incomplete document of Portuguese electronic music.
A. Bergman

Der portugiesische Soundkünstler Rafael Toral, der bei uns vor allem durch seine ambientigen Gitarren-Drones auf Tomlab bekannt sein dürfte, präsentiert hier einen historischen Abriss elektronischer Musik aus Portugal. Und das meint vor allem akademisch angehauchte »neue Musik«, irgendwo zwischen Free Jazz, Minimalismus, Performance und Live-Improvisation, die zeitlich gesehen von Pionieren der frühen 70er bis hin zu einer eigenen Komposition Torals aus dem Jahre 1997 reicht. Sperrige Klangexperimente, Zwölfton-Kompositionen auf reiner Sinuston-Basis, streng strukturiertes Blubbern aus der Tiefe modularer Analog-Synths und serielle Pieps- und Knistercollagen machen die Compilation nicht grade zu leicht verdaulicher Hörkost, sondern wenden sich an ein an der Entwicklung elektronischer Musik interessiertes Nischenpublikum. Letzterem präsentiert Toral jedoch eine kompromisslose Sicht auf dreißig Jahre experimentelle Musik seines Heimatlandes, die weder streng chronologisch vorgeht noch krampfhaft versucht, die vorgestellten Komponisten in bestimmte Schulen einzuteilen. Stattdessen hört man dieser Anthologie trotz ihrer vermeintlichen akademischen Strenge und Sprödigkeit eine Offenheit an, die sich nicht zuletzt in Torals Solowerken wieder findet. Das umfangreiche Booklet bietet darüber hinaus detaillierte Informationen über alle Künstler und ermöglicht dadurch eine intensivere Beschäftigung mit der nicht unbedingt leicht zugänglichen Materie.
Christoph Büscher, 31/08/2004

Portugal came to electronic music later than other parts of Europe , having been held in the narrow confines of dictatorship for over forty years. When Salazar's fascist regime finally ended in 1974, cultural censorship crumbled, and a nation previously dissuaded from technology and modernist innovation began to discover what the avant-garde beyond Iberia had been creating.
Thus, the next twenty-five years saw the development of such musical forms in Portugal itself, and leading electronic composer Rafael Toral has now honoured this movement with an anthology that spans from the early seventies to the 21st century. Notably, though, it has still taken a German record label (the wonderful Tomlab) to publish such a work. It is a record both baffling and mesmerising to the ears.
Contextually, what's particularly interesting here is that the works are both outward-looking, as a dialectic response to existing pioneers in the electronic field, and inward-looking, as a response to Portugal itself. So Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta pays homage to the nation's most celebrated poet, Fernando Pessoa, in ‘Lisbon Revisited,' using a recording of his poems so processed that no words remain audible, in reference to the authorial shape-shifting of the poet himself.
Meanwhile, Jorge Peixinho investigates the death of a Lusophone liberationist in ‘Elegy to Amílcar Cabral,' a piece composed of only twelve sinewave tones, which veer a narrow and sometimes painful course until finally reaching an abrupt end, just like the life of the revolutionary.
Rafael Toral also contributes a charming work of his own, which invokes piercing birdsong by means of feedback ciruits and toy amplifiers. Anar Band's ‘Plasticman', presumably named after the cartoon from which Richie Hawtin would also borrow a similar moniker, turns into a frenzy of Arp Odyssey atonalism; improvised squiggles of noise inspired by the free jazz aesthetic.
Of course, any normal person listening to this piece (and indeed the album as a whole) would get precisely none of the above references. They would simply hear the sound of small plastic babies squabbling to death over enormous chocolate biscuits. But their brains and their imaginations would be all the richer for it.
Sophie Heawood, 16 Sep 2004)

Saviez-vous que l'on faisait aussi de la musique électronique au Portugal ?
Comme l'indique son titre, Antologia de Mùsica Electronica Portuguesa, se veut être un recueil (sans doute non-exhaustif) de ce qui se fait dans ce pays en matière de créations sonores à partir de machines et autres instruments numériques. Mise en monde par Rafael Toral (connu notamment pour son bel album electronic babyland paru en 2003 sur Tomlab), cette compilation, aux accents expérimentaux, donne un aperçu que ce qu'il se fai(sai)t au cours de ces trente dernières années au pays de Luis Figo en matière de composition sonore à base d'électronique.
Regroupant des titres crées entre 1972 et 1997, Antologia de Mùsica Electronica Portuguesa propose une sorte d'introspection au cœur de la musiques concrète et électro-acoustique portugaise. Pas si éloignée que ça de la notre, et rappelant le travail de Pierre Henry ou de Pierre Boulez par certains aspects), les titres les plus anciens présents ici témoignent de leur époque, tant au niveau de moyens mis en œuvre que des démarches artistiques alors en vogue à cette époque. Reprenant chronologiquement l'évolution de ce genre au fil des années, cette compilation nous fait découvrir des créateurs affranchis de toute barrière musicale, avec des morceaux qui dépassent le simple cadre de l'écoute pure et simple chez soi, et qui se conçoivent sans doute plus dans des espaces appropriés lors de performances artistiques diverses.

Music Boom
Allora. La musica minimalista è una musica strana. Una di quelle che fa storcere il naso.
Quando mettete su un disco di musica minimalista succede che, se state facendo il caffè, ad un certo punto non sapete più se quello sbuffo e quel fischio provengono dalla moca sul fuoco o dal vostro cd-player.
La musica minimalista è quella che quando andate in macchina vi fa confondere una vibrazione dell'abitacolo con un loop killer sintetico che invece proviene dall'autoradio.
Spesso minimalismo fa rima con isolazionismo.
Spesso anche con elettronica.
Questo Antologia de Música Electrónica Portuguesa all'orecchio del neofita suona un po' cosi.
Però. Però c'è da dire che i quindici pezzi della compilazione allestita dalla Tomlab e dalla Plancton Music mostrano un Portogallo inesplorato, dando risalto ad una scena elettronica altrimenti sommersa sotto ai ritratti da cartolina di un paese pur sempre semisconosciuto, percepito, nel senso comune, come incapace di dar vita a determinate sonorità.
Noi abbiamo pizza- spaghetti- mandolino. Loro hanno i Madredeus.
Cosi uno si aspetta che in Portogallo sia tutto tradizione e velleità spirituali (con tutto il rispetto per i Madredeus)
Invece no. Il minimalismo efferato e glaciale di questa manciata di episodi risveglia l'interesse su una scena che, a quanto pare, è stata ed è viva e vegeta.
I personaggi riuniti per questa antologia sono artisti di tutto rispetto, che provengono da territori culturali anche molto diversi fra loro.La sperimentazione rappresenta il fil rouge che collega le differenti esperienze di musicisti come Cândido Lima, pioniere della computer music in Portogallo che lavorò fianco a fianco con Stockhausen, Ligeti, Pierre Boulez, Iannis Xenakis; Filipe Pires pianista formatosi tra Lisbona, Hannover e Salisburgo, avanguardista elettroacustico già dal 1970; Telectu duo nato nel 1982 come formazione di rock d'avanguardia; il Jorge Peixinho vicino a Luigi Nono; Rafael Toral forse il più vicino al mondo del rock e del pop grazie alle sue ricerche sulla percezione umana dei suoni e alle collaborazioni con Jim O'Rourke, John Zorn e Sonic Youth; João Pedro Oliveira studioso di organo che appare qui con un brano commissionatogli dal Watary Museum of Contemporary Art. E ancora René Bertholo nato come pittore e approdato alla musica solo in un secondo momento, Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta architetto, urban planner e compositore nato a San Paolo, Antònio Ferreira inizialmente interessato alla chimica ma poi votato allo studio dell'Atari e alle sue connessioni con la musica.
Sicuramente non un disco di facile fruizione – a meno che non vi piaccia allestire un'istallazione multimediale ogni qual volta accendete il vostro stereo – ma un breve riassunto sulla storia, nascosta, del minimalismo portoghese che poi è un po' il minimalismo in generale, con i suoi pro e i suoi contro. Dove il pro sta nell'abbattimento delle barriere del possibile e il contro nel godimento troppo mediato che questo genere richiede all'ascoltatore.
Beatrice "Beatroce" Finauro; Sonology: sapete cos'è la musica minimalista?

Cette anthologie, malgré le caractère éminemment personnel et subjectif de ses choix et orientations (Rafael Toral en est l'instigateur) a su conserver une dimension exhaustive, plurielle et achevés dans son " dénombrement ".
Sans visée historique, cette compilation présente ici une large frange des artistes portugais a avoir construit une démarche artistique autour de la chose électronique ( depuis l'ambiente à l'électro-acoustique au sens large) ; la devançant dans certains cas ou accompagnant son évolution dans d'autres . Mais au delà de cette seule grille de lecture, ce sont bien les racines musicales que porte en lui Rafael Toral, ingénieux et sensible guitariste portugais , qui viennent émerger de ce terreau fertile de musiciens.
Des compositions surprenantes, pour des compositeurs ,qu'il soit question de Candido Lima, Nuno Rebelo, Filipe Pires, Jorge Peixinho, Carlos Zingaro ouJoao Pedro Oliveira pour n'en citer que peu, qui donnent une vision beaucoup plus ouverte et nuancée de l'héritage et du patrimoine musical portugais.
Une démarche unique pour une compilation, bien que difficile d'accès, indispensable, et qui semble alors vouloir mêler ses précieux sons au non moins précieuses pensées du poète Fernando Pessoa.


Penchons-nous donc d'abord sur cette Anthologie de Musique Electronique Portugaise, commandée par Tomlab (qui ressort du bois electropop, enfin) et curatée par le toujours passionnant Rafael Toral: on y trouve, le légendaire Nuno Canavarro (auteur du mirifique Plux Quba, objet culte de Mouse on Mars ou Jim O'Rourke, qui le réédita il y a quelques années sur son Moikai), et une floppée d'inconnus qui font du bruit sans faire des vagues depuis, semble-t-il, une éternité. Un peu comme quand on découvrait, ébahi, les seconds-couteaux Max Brand ou Arne Nordheim, sortis il y a peu de la naphtaline, ou quand on se plongeait dans l'indispensable anthologie OHM : early gurus of electronic music, tiquant sur les noms les moins connus, le choc est frontal et l'on frémit à l'idée de ce qui reste à découvrir. En vérité, presque rien n'est proprement majeur ici, et les œuvres les plus anciennes remontent au début des années 70. Il en demeure tout de même quelques merveilles absolues (les transformations de voix de Filipe Pires, réalisée au GRM à Paris, les blips quasi rhytmiques de René Bertholo, et l'ambiant fou-malade de Antonio Ferreira) et surtout un fait tout simple qui, jusqu'à l'existence de cette Antologia remarquable, était resté enfoui : le Portugal aussi a ses pionniers de la musique concrète et électronique. On attend les œuvres intégrales, maintenant.
Olivier Lamm, chroniques #16

Es ist nur ein Aspekt dieser wundervollen Sammlung, vielleicht nicht einmal einer der wichtigsten, aber die vom Improv-Gitarristen und Laptop-Elektroniker Rafael Toral in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Lissaboner Label Plancton Music zusammengestellte »Antologia de Música Electrónica Portuguesa« macht unmittelbar klar, wie unbedacht und touristisch banal unser Blick auf ein Land wie Portugal, auf eine vermeintlich exotische Musikszene oft ist, wie tonnenschwere Formationen an Geschichte, Politik und stratifizierter Gewalt so leicht und selbstverständlich ausgeblendet werden – und dass es sich hin und wieder lohnen mag, einen Gedanken daran zu verschwenden, dass in den europäisch-globalisierten Ländern Spanien, Griechenland oder eben Portugal noch faschistische oder rechtsautoritäre Militärregimes herrschten, als viele der Autoren und Leser dieses Blattes schon geboren waren. Die »Antologia« versammelt Musik aus den Jahren 1972 bis 1997, von Komponisten und Musikern aus akademischen, aus Jazz/Improv- wie auch aus Rock/Pop-Zusammenhängen, changiert zwischen strengen Frequenzmodulationen, komplexen Drones, Sun-Ra-affinen Space-Age Memorabilia und seriellen, algorithmischen Kompositionen, die so ähnlich auch im WDR-Studio für akustische Kunst der Stockhausen-Ära entstanden sein könnten. Allerdings legt die genaue historische Situierung der einzelnen Beiträge in den Linernotes eine andere Lesart nahe: dass die simple Tatsache, ein elektronisches akustisches Signal als eine Möglichkeit von Musik und nicht als ruhestörendes Ärgernis verstehen zu können, in einer Diktatur oder in einer Gesellschaft, die sich gerade von einer Diktatur befreit hat, etwas grundlegend anderes bedeutet als in einer in vergleichsweise offenen und toleranten, aber in kultureller Hinsicht gesättigten bis übersättigten globalen (Konsum-)Kultur. Toral will diesen historischen Entstehungskontext jedoch nicht wertend verstehen. Vielmehr geht es ihm darum zu zeigen, dass experimentelle elektronische Musik in Portugal stattfand und -findet (vor der Nelkenrevolution allerdings im Exil oder als Nischenexistenz), zahlreiche starke und höchst individuelle Ausprägungen gefunden hat, Tiefe und Beständigkeit besitzt und auf Innovationsdiskurse getrost verzichten kann. Die Musik ist nicht wiedererkennbar »portugiesisch« im Sinne einer spezifischen Musiktradition oder dem Zugriff auf folkloristische Motive, noch nicht mal in der klischierten Melancholie. Darauf weist schon das hübsche Coverphoto hin, dass ein Kirchlein in einer Landschaft zeigt, die so gar nicht landestypisch scheint und die das topographische Wissen eher in Niederbayern als in Portugal verorten würde. Dagegen steht eine spannende und reiche Sammlung diversester, außerhalb Portugals kaum bekannter Charaktere, die viele musikalische Freiheiten kennen, aber eines definitiv nicht zulassen: die Einklammerung in einen nationalstolzen »Sound of«.
Frank Eckert, 02/09/2004

Nachdem Tomlab eine ganze Menge Pop auf unsere Welt losgelassen haben, geht’s nun mit riesigen Schritten zurück zum Experiment. Der vorliegende Tonträger ist eine Anthologie elektronischer Musik aus Portugal , die von Rafael Toral zusammengestellt wurde.
Nicht, dass man das Phänomen hier komplett erfassen könnte oder wollte. Vielmehr hat Herr Toral nach persönlicher Relevanz einige Künstler herausgegriffen. Ich muss wahrscheinlich gestehen, dass mir auf dem gesamten Sampler nicht ein Artist irgendetwas sagt. Naja, außer Herr Toral selber, der mit dem Stück “Mills Session Introducao)“ vertreten ist. Zeitlich ziehen sich die Stücke von den Siebzigern bis in die Neunziger und das
ist ja allemal interessant. Das umfassende Booklet bietet in seinen ausführlichen Linernotes zu jedem Stück ein wenig Verständnishilfe. Viele der Tracks verstehen sich in einem konzeptualen Zusammenhang wesentlich besser als durch bloßes Hören. Die Musik schwankt nämlich immer betrunken an der Wahrnehmungsgrenze. Gestern hab ich die CD den ganzen Tag auf Repeat laufen lassen und nie das Gefühl gehabt wirklich Musik zu hören, in dem Sinne, in dem ich das moistens tue. Es passiert nämlich mitunter minutenlang gar nichts, was aber nicht im Fehlen von Inhalt begründet ist, sondern mehr in einer Abwesenheit konventioneller Ereignisse, die normale Hörgewohnheiten immer fordern. Ein Besucher fragte gestern nach geraumer Zeit, die wir zusammen mit der Musik verbrachten, ob irgendetwas mit meinem Computer nicht stimme, weil er immer mal wieder so seltsame Geräusche machen würde. Das könnte schon die unvorbereitete, im Unwissen über die Existenz der Musik getroffene Wahrnehmung vieler sein.
Dieser Musik muss man sich bewusst aussetzen, weil man sie sonst einfach übersehen könnte. Dies ist aber wahrlich keine Aussage über die Wichtigkeit der Musik, denn die steht noch einmal für sich.
Wer sich also traut bekommt hier einen schönen Einblick in die Entwicklung der experimentellen elektronischen Musik in Portugal . Als Zeitzeugnis wahrscheinlich unumstößlich essentiell, da es schon schwierig sein wird, einmal anders in das Schaffen dieser Künstler zu blicken. Gerade durch das Booklet schließt sich dann wieder eine kleine Lücke im geographischen Musikverständnis. Da gibt es zwar noch so unglaublich viele andere, aber eine kleine Idee zu
haben von etwas, dem man vorher aus Unwissenheit keine Aufmerksamkeit geschenkt hat, ist eine wirklich feine Sache.
Philipp Bückle, 09.2004

Compiled by Rafael Toral and Plancton Music (PT), this splendid collection revisits thirty plus years of Portugese electronics. Notably opening with Nuno Canavarro, whose Plux Quba is apparently Jim O'Rourke's favourite album of all time – he reissued it on his own Moikai imprint late nineties – the compilers have unearthed some classic material omitted from the original album, which has been causing quite a furore amongst devotees. The historical thread is a fascinating one, linking in Rafael's own words “the authors' cultural territories and also to document as many approaches to electronic music as possible, both on material and conceptual levels" . Fans of electro- acoustic material will love this album, and the insights into some unknown composers is a fascinating one. With appearances from Nuno Canavarro, Cândido Lima, Nuno Rebelo, Isabel Soveral, Filipe Pires, Telectu, Jorge Peixinho, Rafael Toral, João Pedro Oliveira, Anar Band, René Bertholo, Carlos Zíngaro, Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta, No Noise Reduction, and António Ferreira. Highly recommended.

El portugués Rafael Toral es uno de los primeros espadas europeos en el campo de la abstracción digital y las músicas (realmente) avanzadas. Quizás junto al de Fennesz, uno de los pocos nombres populares surgidos de un terreno, el de la experimentación sónica, tradicionalmente opaco para el gran público.
Sus trabajos traslucen una concepción de la electrónica voluntariamente alejada de las posibilidades del ritmo para concentrarse en la arquitectura sonora y la creación de texturas acústicas. Deconstrucción radical (faceta ésta especialmente acentuada en sus trabajos junto a Paulo Feliciano bajo el nombre de No Noise Reduction), aceptación de la disonancia como virtud, desplazamiento del protagonismo al residuo sónico y, por encima de todo, exaltación del ruido blanco como océano de posibilidades por descubrir son constantes en una obra, la del portugués, que debemos contar entre las más creativas e inquietas del Viejo Continente.
“Antologia de Musica Electrónica Portuguesa” es el sintético y sumamente descriptivo título elegido por Rafel Toral para el último de sus proyectos. En él, el luso acepta convertirse en nuestro Cicerone en un viaje a través de los orígenes y la historia de la experimentación electrónica en el país vecino. Una travesía con punto de partida en un lejano 1972, año de edición del tema Homo Sapiens a cargo de Filipe Pires (pianista y veterano estudioso de la electroacústica) y finaliza en 1997 con la inclusión de un inédito firmado por el propio Toral. Entre estos puntos cronológicos, el portugués selecciona y edita una colección de piezas que gravitan en torno a conceptos como la atonalidad y la exploración de la fisicidad del sonido. Piezas con el valor de lo pionero y el mérito de lo arriesgado recuperadas por un artista dispuesto a recordar, y honrar, el trabajo de quienes antes que él se negaron a aceptar convencionalismos compositivos y se propusieron ampliar hasta lo inimaginado nuestra concepción de lo musical.

Experimentation with electronic music has been a relatively recent phenomenon in Portugal , according to the sleevenotes accompanying Antologia de Música Electrónica Portuguesa . This, they reveal, can be explained by the "cultural isolationism and obscurantism the country lived in during 48 years of dictatorship, as well as its deep underdevelopment during the regime that ended in 1974". Electronic music, however, wants to be free. It has its own international language, plus a network of talents and institutions that transcend all such barriers. Less an actual anthology than a vigorously paced montage of extracts recorded over the past three decades, the selection of material and composers presented here quickly establishes direct connections with some of the major names in 20th century music. Filipe Pires, whose Homo Sapiens for tape-manipulated voices dates from 1972, making it the earliest piece in the collection, studies electroacoustic music with Pierre Schaeffer at Groupe de Recherches Musicales. Cândido Lima, represented by the sumpuously expansive Oceanos , studies with Xenakis and Boulez, while Jorge Peixinho worked with Stockhausen in Darmstadt . On the strength of her spatially adept Anamorphoses from 1994, Peixinho's own student, Isabel Soveral is evidently one of the more interesting new composers to emerge in recent years. António Ferreira's studies at the Holland 's Institute for Sonology, show through in the gentle undulation of his O Verão Nasceu da Paixão de 1921 from 1988. Having worked with John Cage between 1986 and 1992 and with Merce Cunningham up to present day, Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta transforms a reading of a poem by Fernando Pessoa into the filtered ebb and flow of the sea in his 1986 composition Lisbon Remembered . Compiled and produced by Rafael Toral, the most striking feature about this collection is the vitality with which these outside influences are adapted by each composer in their work. Much remains to be discovered here.
K. H.


Parvenir à dégager en 15 morceaux une anthologie de musique électronique, fut-elle d'un seul pays, peut paraître une présomptueuse gageure. Pourtant, en introduisant suffisamment de sens dans ses choix musicaux, en se laissant guider par une mise en relation instinctive et cohérente de chacun des titres sélectionnés, le maître de cérémonie, en l'occurrence un Rafael Toral juge et partie, est parvenu à ébaucher un édifice musical pertinent, bien qu'en fait faussement anthologique. Dépassant des logiques stylistiques inopportunes, Antologia de Música Electrónica Portuguesa est un voyage intemporel, introspectif et finalement très personnel, à travers vingt-cinq ans (1972-1997) de création musicale électronique localisée. Une mise en profondeur qui ne s'attache à aucune brisure chronologique, à aucune appartenance culturelle, sinon à une logique de liberté, à un concept de création débridé qui doit aussi se percevoir dans sa dimension politique, grâce aux perspectives nouvelles qui se sont ouvertes aux compositeurs portugais à la fin de la dictature militaire en 1974. Pour cela, l'approche musicale est fortement dédiée aux sonorités expérimentales, puisant dans les musiques concrètes et acousmatiques les attributs d'une réflexion nouvelle. Des premiers pionniers, Filipe Pires ou Jorge Peixinho aux pièces les plus récentes de Rafael Toral ou René Bertholo, en passant par les reconnus Telectu ou Carlos Zingaro, cette Antologia retisse les liens oubliés, en détoure le décor fantôme.
Laurent Catala

Cette anthologie, malgré le caractère éminemment personnel et subjectif de ses choix et orientations (Rafael Toral en est l'instigateur) a su conserver une dimension exhaustive, plurielle et achevés dans son " dénombrement ".
Sans visée historique, cette compilation présente ici une large frange des artistes portugais a avoir construit une démarche artistique autour de la chose électronique ( depuis l'ambiente à l'électro-acoustique au sens large) ; la devançant dans certains cas ou accompagnant son évolution dans d'autres . Mais au delà de cette seule grille de lecture, ce sont bien les racines musicales que porte en lui Rafael Toral, ingénieux et sensible guitariste portugais , qui viennent émerger de ce terreau fertile de musiciens.
Des compositions surprenantes, pour des compositeurs ,qu'il soit question de Candido Lima, Nuno Rebelo, Filipe Pires, Jorge Peixinho, Carlos Zingaro ouJoao Pedro Oliveira pour n'en citer que peu, qui donnent une vision beaucoup plus ouverte et nuancée de l'héritage et du patrimoine musical portugais.
Une démarche unique pour une compilation, bien que difficile d'accès, indispensable, et qui semble alors vouloir mêler ses précieux sons au non moins précieuses pensées du poète Fernando Pessoa.
Julien Jaffré

La maggioranza delle persone, a proposito della musica portoghese, non va oltre al luogo comune che accomuna l'estrema propaggine del continente europeo al ‘fado'. I più rigorosi sapranno magari che il Portogallo si distingue per un'ottima tradizione di canto gregoriano, ma nulla più. Pochissimi sanno che in Portogallo si produce un'ottima musica sperimentale, e ancora più esiguo è il numero di coloro che sono a conoscenza di come tale produzione si basi su una tradizione fervida e rigogliosa. Questo disco, se inteso come tentativo di tamponare tali lacune, non può che essere considerato eccellente… sempre che serva da stimolo e al suo ascolto faccia seguito una ricerca più approfondita, sia a riguardo della tradizione storica sia a riguardo dei numerosi musicisti della contemporaneità sperimentale lusitana. E un'anima buona, un'istituzione, un'associazione che organizzasse in Italia una rassegna dedicata alla musica sperimentale che viene fatta in questa splendida terra sarebbe quanto mai ben accetta. Credo, in termini di Europa Unita, che lo scambio fra le diverse culture che popolano il continente debba essere fondamentale (al di là dei gemellaggi fatti a base di scambi culinari).
Questa “Antologia” è, in realtà, da attribuire a Rafael Toral: è lui che ha scelto i brani (o meglio, tranne due eccezioni, gli estratti da brani ben più corposi), ed è lui che si è occupato del montaggio, dell'edizione, della direzione artistica… Gli inediti sono solo quattro – ad esclusione dei frammenti plb, xqa e xlb di Nuno Canavarro, ma i brani e i loro autori non sono certo dei vip del panorama musicale e quindi il rischio di sovrapposizioni è molto basso. L'antologia non ha carattere esaustivo, come viene sottolineato dallo stesso Toral nell'introduzione, ma vuol essere un punto di partenza verso la scoperta di un ricco patrimonio musicale documentato su etichette storiche come Ama Romanta e Ananana; e verso la scoperta di pionieri semisconosciuti come Cândido Lima (1939), Filipe Pires (1934), Jorge Peixinho (1940-1995), René Bertholo (1935), o di geniacci altrettanto ignorati come ‘Tó Zé' Ferreira.
Per ogni brano sono riportati tutti i dati necessari al suo inquadramento – strumentazione utilizzata, luogo della registrazione, dettagli sulla sua pubblicazione…, seguiti da una breve biografia del musicista. All'interno di sands-zine potete trovare ulteriori notizie sulla musica sperimentale portoghese, oltre che in numerose recensioni, negli articoli “Pop dell'Arte” e “cabo verde e lisbona” (il secondo è su ‘il resto').
Comprate senza indugi quello che non è solo un invito all'ascolto ma, se non siete proprio insensibili alle suggestive immagini di copertina, anche un invito alla visita.